REVIEW OF THE
REGISTER OF WHAT IS TRUE,
AS 'THE END' FINISHES ENDING
Starting with the removal of Israel, following the crucifixion of their Messiah, we proceed to the end of the Age, and of the whole Test Phase.
THE TEN STEPS
1. INSURGENCE of the Christian Church
As Israel is pruned OUT of the spiritual tree (Romans 11), following her rejection, as a nation, of the Redeemer, Mediator, Desire of the nations, Jesus Christ, so Gentiles are set into it, from outside, inheriting the roots, and with them, the flower of the Redeemer. This is an insurgence into the field of spiritual mission and commission with a new remnant, believers, making up a new priesthood, a holy nation (I Peter 2:9).
2. RESTORATION of Jerusalem
thrusts itself into history, changing its status of a city
downtrodden-by-the-Gentiles (Luke 21:24), to that of the renewed and free civic centre for Israel.
3-4. CONVERGENCE AND RESURGENCE
There comes now
a) CONVERGENCE of foes against Israel, to challenge its new status
(Zechariah 12, Ezekiel 36-39),
b) RESURGENCE of REPENTANCE and REDEMPTION in ISRAEL
(Zechariah 12, Ezekiel 36-37), amid divine deliverance from the forces bent on its extermination. This is yet to come.
This saving work of God (Zechariah 12:10-13:1), leads to a fresh input to the Christian Church. Paul declares that if the "casting away" of Israel was a blessing to Gentiles (who for their part were summoned by grace), then what is the restoration of Israel to the tree of faith, but "life from the dead"! (Romans 11:15). Thus what left the "tree" and had Gentiles grafted in place for the mission to the world, is at this stage, now back: BOTH remnants thereby now become ONE as shown in the end of Romans 11. There is ONE Lord, ONE Gospel, and ONE Church, now made manifest as the end of the Age shows that wisdom is indeed justified by her children!
5. EMERGENCE of
(Ezekiel 38-39, Zechariah 12-14, Isaiah 66, Micah 7, Deuteronomy 32)
now comes, and it is on a profound scale, this by divine intervention.
Its grand, potent and devastating features resemble those found in the Exodus, when Israel was called out of Egypt. When Israel has only God on whom to rely, when its strength is gone (Deuteronomy 32:36), THEN the Lord rescues that assailed people from the thronging invaders, rebuking the 'devourer' to the utmost point of humiliation (cf. Micah 7:17, Deuteronomy 32:28-41): this being related in the most intimate review of the nation, its lapses, its need, its individual and peculiar condition.
In the midst of these things, we find both in Daniel 7 and Revelation 17 and 18, that there is to be a militant amalgam of ten kings who will spend an exceedingly short time ("one hour"), where they are rampant "with the beast" in a sort of gala heyday. Rome as the continuing and historic centre of the final and 4th Empire of Daniel 7 and 2 (cf. SMR pp. 946ff., and more generally, 902-954), is then through the direct will of God, destroyed physically, also "in one hour", and this is declared to be a divine action of vengeance for all the murders and rapacities of this city in its religious domain, so sumptuous, which so misused so much power, being spiritually averse and astray from truth. Fire guts it.
What of the saints of the Most High ? The way lies now altogether open for a remnant both from Israel and the Gentiles to constitute one Church. Moreover there are in its comprehensive totality, neither Jew nor Gentile, male or female, opposing or alien groups (Romans 11:31-36, Galatians 3), there being none at odds.
6. CELESTIAL CALL or "RAPTURE"
At the time appointed, there comes like lightning (Matthew 24:23-36), the calling of Christ to collect all His people, leading to spiritual WEDDING (Revelation 19:8ff., Matthew 25), stable, secure, stark and singular, with no ceremonial supplement in view. This as in Matthew 24, is in essence a surprise to the 'sleeping virgins' (Matthew 25), and a physical rupture of the turmoil or persecution thrusting itself on the thus relieved Christian body.
The inward assurance of being a child of God, based on the word of God, through His Spirit (Romans 8:16, Ephesians 1:5-11), is now objectified, just as the payment to procure this end was, at Calvary. By this stage, history has shown both movements: one a coming down of the Lord from heaven to receive His people, known to Him, the other a taking up to it, a direct work on the part of the Lord, the grand Receiver of those who received Him, the redeemed (Matthew 24:24-44). They all come from West to East. Some are now taken from this unruly world, some left. Ruptured from this writhing earth, they come to their appointed Saviour as the earth comes to its appointed ravishment, not with beauty but with ruin.
Thus as in Revelation 11 and its two witnesses summoned to heaven, "come up here" (News 87, End-note 1; Acme ... Ch. 5), those who are the Lord's and so witness of Him, being gathered together as one, leave to be with Christ, resurrected (I Cor. 15), spiritually one body with one Head, individually many with one Lord (John 14:1-3, II Corinthians 5), as also in Matthew 24:36-43, leading to that grand congregation, Revelation 19:8, the celestial marriage (cf. Matthew 25). Clad with linen clean and bright, they display the "righteousnesses" accorded to them (Romans 5:17), both in substitutionary evacuation of sin as sovereign and goad of guilt, and in justification (the AV translates clearly and well here).
however, meanwhile the composite and complex follies move to their evil consummation, as in Revelation 19:19,
confrontation with God. The remnant of those rejecting the Lord, now coming to their climax, are also
described in terms of the self-parading-as-if-God antichrist (II Thessalonians
2), "who sits as God in the temple of God"
making this fatuous and fictitious declaration. It is he whom the Lord
"will destroy with the brightness of His coming",
all his deceptive signs bundled out and incinerated with the other constructions
of his fraud. This ends the short and abortive rule of what might be termed
"the devil's messiah"! (cf. Revelation 13, 17:12, Daniel 7:18-19).
7. RESTORATION OF DIVINE RULE on this earth, now occurs.
a) the saints come with the WORD OF GOD, faithful and true, the Messiah, the Judge (Acts 17:31, Revelation 19:8,11-16, Matthew 19:28, I Thessalonians 3:13); and
b) Satan is bound for the duration of this, the first resurrection,
and John sees
i) the thrones associated with the saints
ii) those actually beheaded for Christ, and expanding this domain,
iii) and those who did not worship the beast or his image and had not received his mark,
all appearing to come in ascending order of multitude to the final order of generality.
The three groups are connected, with 'and' for the second and third, and an additional relative pronoun*1 signifying ALL of a group, for the third, "and all those who did not worship ..." This is a select time for "all His saints" (I Thessalonians 3:13, Zechariah 14:5), that is those believing in Him, set apart people such as were often addressed as saints in Paul's letters to the Churches. Also there is a listing of the armies of heaven in this smashing of the deluded forces seeking to govern without God, and indeed, contrary to Him. Long has He waited till the last is found (Revelation 6:11, II Peter 3:9); for there is nothing haphazard about the works of the Lord.
8. RELEASE OF SATAN AND HIS DECEPTION - Revelation 20:7.
That evil spirit's targetting of the susceptible continues in this renewed and final test, following the completion of the work in which the
"earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea," Habakkuk 2:14, cf. Isaiah 11.
The latter shows the utter transformation in the earth for the humbling of evil and the sheer rule of good through the Messiah (cf. Psalm 72,2, 110), vindicating His suffering and declaring not only His wreckage of death, but His triumph in overturning - as man for believers amongst mankind - the morbidity of sin and the horror of death into the beauty of the resurrection. As His body they return as in Isaiah 26:19, I Thessalonians 3:13, Zechariah 14:5, cf. Revelation 19:8-20:3). But with that blessed period (as in Psalm 73, Isaiah 65) ended, a last fling from the follies of the prince of darkness seeks to secure the victory, the hearts of mankind and the day.
This final scope for evil adventurism does not last long, since it is chiefly a new thrust of wantonry into the midst of those who, at this phase, have already experienced the manifest presence of the Lord, His shepherding on earth and a setting to rights. That done, all left is a rebellious spirit as the reactor, as the responsive agent, as the assessed activist, now consigned to his everlasting account; and man, comes before his final judgment by his Assessor, who knowing all things and true, exposes what must be exposed, and assigns all to its place. Thus we come to the
9. COLLAPSE INTO JUDGMENT ... Revelation 20:11,21:1 John 5:20-23, Acts 17:31. This is eternal in whatever species of time the Lord appoints (since the heavens and the earth pass away for a new heavens and a new earth, II Peter 3), and is not mere extinction of the souls concerned. The vast channel of mercy being rejected by many, the reality of judgment for which Christ offered even Himself to bear, engulfs the ungovernable, expectorants of grace and its approaches, opportunities and gifts.
10. CONSUMMATION OF NEW CREATION ... Revelation 21-22.
So it is that for the redeemed, pain, evil, immorality, the forcing of evil on what is good, on what is ransomed, this has ceased (Revelation 21:3-8). Death ceases to be relevant, redeemed life being now the realised remnant. It is in all its blessed people the accompaniment of the God who made mankind: each one is now consummated and complete in kind.
What is accepted into the Lord, who like a Shepherd leads (cf. Revelation 7), whose worship at last is pure: this comes as the other goes. There are no more sunsets, if you will, to an evil day, nor does the counterpart of dawn, fail to arise on a good day. Indeed darkness is discounted and the light has its enduring place.
The heaven and the earth pass away as is shown in multiple statements in the Bible, as in varied themes within it, and systematic presentations (cf. Bulletins 53, 93). The words of Jesus the Christ, He Himself points out, have total contrast in that they NEVER pass away. See Bulletins 53 and 93 for details and data.
See Bible Translations 4.